My preferred way of getting around London is by bike. I usually cycle in and out of town, and on my way home, I often go past the offices of Age UK, which is a charity that campaigns for old people and provides services such as free advice on finance, fitness classes, and friendships to prevent loneliness. On the windows of its building, it has photos of a number of old people with quotes such as “In life, if you have your health, you’ve got everything” and this one which I particularly liked: “I wouldn’t like to go back to my younger days. I go with the flow now“.
When you go with the flow, you’re chilled - or chilled out. In other words, you’re very relaxed and you don’t worry too much about things or care what people think of you; you accept changes and don’t fight them, but in a way that’s good for you. The idea behind going with the flow is that you’re like a boat being carried down the river as it flows to the sea, without too much need to use energy – and who doesn’t like a gentle cruise down a river?
The implication is that when you’re younger, life is a bit more difficult and involves more struggles. This seems to me a great way of looking at getting older and is closer to Age UK’s vision of a world where everyone can enjoy later life. Interestingly, the charity was formed out of two previous organisations called Age Concern and Help the Aged, the names of which make becoming older sound like a big problem – when we should perhaps try and see more of the benefits . . . such as being able to go with the flow.
- How are old people treated in your country?
- Do you worry about getting old?
- Are there any charities like Age UK in your country?
- How far do you like to go with the flow? Why?
- How do you usually get around where you live? Why?
- Have you ever been on a cruise down a river?